Aldermanic cuts
12:08 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

Bill to halve size of St. Louis Board of Aldermen clears committee

A bill that would cut the St. Louis Board of Aldermen in half has cleared the first of several hurdles it faces before becoming law.

The board’s legislation committee approved the bill by a vote of 7-1. It still needs the thumbs-up from the entire Board, and then from 60 percent of the voters in November.

The original measure, which is linked to above, reduced the number of aldermen to 12. Amendments approved by the committee on Friday changed that to 14, and also clarified the schedule of elections if the bill is approved. The first aldermen wouldn't be elected under the new system until 2023.

Alderwoman Phyllis Young, the measure’s sponsor,  says she’ll campaign on how much more efficient the city could be with only 14 aldermen.

"I think it's going to cause the board of have to coalesce and discuss issues more," she said. "I think they're going to have to look at how the resources are used in a more cooperative fashion."

The full board must pass the bill by July 13 - the scheduled start of its summer break - to get it in front of voters. Young is confident she has enough support at the board, but will be counting votes carefully.

The most difficult hurdle, she said, will be voters locating the issue on what could be a long November ballot.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann